How to Choose a Vacuum
To help you differentiate between vacuums, manufacturers use ratings such as watts, amps, or horsepower. Those numbers explain the energy that is used by the vacuum, but not necessarily how well it cleans. For example, a vacuum with a lower amperage but a more efficient fan system can generate more airflow.
A vacuum that cleans well needs high airflow, the correct brush for the type of floor, and a system for capturing tiny particles. A single number cannot properly measure those factors. The quality vacuums we carry at Bissonette’s, like Riccar and Miele, have superior engineering to efficiently remove dirt and then filter fine particles, exhausting pure air.
Online reviews can be very helpful, but keep in mind that a vacuum that works well in one setting may not meet your needs. For example, a multi-level home with thick carpeting and hard floors will be more challenging to clean than an apartment with laminate flooring. Remember also that reviews are often written soon after the purchase without allowing the product time to show its true stripes. We have all heard stories of products that have deteriorated right after the 90-day warranty is over.
Consumer magazines can help in comparing features side-by-side. Make sure you look at the features that pertain to you. Some magazines rate features like “ergonomic handle” and “dirt finder” of equal importance with features like “quiet motor” (a sign of solid construction) and “overload protection” (for long life). Here at Bissonette’s, we will listen to you, understand your specific application, and help you select the vacuum that has the features most useful for you.
For a house with primarily hard floors, select a canister vacuum with rubberized wheels and non-rotating bristles that stay in contact with the floor. Most uprights are ill-designed for hard floors, even those that have a switch that can shut off the roller. Attachments with rotating beater bars are available that will do a decent job on the carpeted areas.
For a house with primarily carpeted floors, find a solid machine with stiff, rotatingbrushes and good bearings. Avoid vacuums that surface clean only; the carpet may look clean, but dirt and allergens will build up underneath, shortening the life of your carpet. Bottom-line vacuums and bagless vacuums are notorious for this.
Consider a lightweight vacuum if you need to carry vacuum up and down stairs, but understand that there will be a trade-off in power.
Commercial customers will want to consider cost per year. With an eye on their bottom line, they know that going through cheap vacuums isn’t the answer. Our commercial vacuums have been used in schools, restaurants, retail shops and janitorial services for many years. No-nonsense, practical features are designed to get the job done quickly. Long cords provide reach around a large space from a single outlet. Industrial quality components ensure that your vacuum will last even with daily use.
Before you make a purchase, plug it in. See how it moves. Does it fit under furniture? Is it easy to push? Is it quiet and smooth? Think about warranty: in-store or send-out? Where can you buy belts, bags and filters for it? At Bissonette’s, we will patiently help you answer these questions to help you find the vacuum that best fits your needs.
What is HEPA?
High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filters capture 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and larger. That is good news for allergy sufferers. However, if a HEPA filter is on a vacuum with even one leak, it is not a HEPA vacuum. It would be like putting a bug screen on a window, but then leaving the door open.
Not all HEPA vacuum cleaners are created equal. Many low-priced vacuum cleaners advertise the HEPA filter, but do not have the quality design and precision manufacturing required to effectively keep dust particles out of the air. Look for vacuums that have been tested to HEPA standards, not just for the HEPA filter label.
Bagged vs. Bagless Vacs
Vacuum cleaners that use a bag offer superior filtration. The vacuum bag is effectively a large filter, which allows air to pass more efficiently through the vacuum, improving airflow (and thereby suction) and reducing the wear on the motor. The process of replacing the bag is a much tidier task than emptying the container of a bagless vacuum. This is especially important to people with allergies. Bags do not need to be replaced nearly as frequently as bagless vacuum containers need to be emptied. Bagged vacuums pack material tightly into the bag.
The biggest disadvantage of a bagged vacuum is, well, the bag. The bag fills up, and sometimes the box of refills is empty. In addition, some people see waste in throwing away the bags.
However, bagless vacuum filters can cost as much as a year’s supply of bags would. Washing the filter is not effective for long; fine particles become lodged in it, reducing airflow and suction.
Unfortunately, when a bagless vacuum filter needs to be replaced, there’s little indication except reduced performance. If the filter is not changed on time, the vacuum will run hot or plug up due to low air flow. The life of the vacuum motor can be significantly shortened. It is much worse for the environment to throw away entire vacuums every couple of years than it is to replace bags.
Where to Buy
Bissonette’s is an independent store that carries products based on what actually works for our customers. We offer options that are not available in the big-box stores. Customers find that our prices are at or below internet pricing. You can be assured that Bissonette’s will stand behind our products with in-store servicing. Here, our warranties are handled in-store and are measured in years instead of months. Stop by for a live demonstration where you can feel and try the vacuum before taking it home.